When to visit Cai Rang Floating Market
The most ideal time to visit Cai Rang Floating Market is at 5-6 AM when it's still active. If you show up late at around 7 AM you may reach the floating market at 8 AM when the activity has already slowed down and there is not much to see.
How to visit Cai Rang floating market
There are many ways to get to the market, but the easiest and most flexible way is to rent a boat from the “boat ladies” who wander around the pier. These ladies work directly with the boat operators docked at the port and can quickly arrange a tour based on the tourist demand. There is no need to book in advance. You can just show up, wait for more travelers to arrive and jump on the next tour.
How Cai Rang floating market works
The operation of the floating market is really interesting and worth understanding. With the first light of dawn, farmers arrive on their small boats carrying the products they have picked from their gardens, mainly fruits, and vegetables.
Traders, who live on the barge with their families, place a stick on the bow. Farmers offer traders those fruits and vegetables that still do not hang from the stick and may be of interest to them. Traders buy the desired products and place the stock on the deck.
A few hours later, the roles are reversed. Farmers leave the market with their boats empty and it is now the turn of buyers, who approach the market from the shore. The goods in the floating market are cheaper than inland markets for one simple reason: commercial transactions off-land are exempt from taxes.
Buyers navigate through the mess of barges and see what each merchant has to offer by taking a look at the fruits and vegetables hanging on the stick. If they are looking for any particular goods they will come closer, examine them and proceed to purchase. The minimum amount is 10 kg. The goods are exchanged from boat to boat. Payment can be made in cash or barter if they have another product to offer back. After stocking enough products, buyers go back to land and resell the fruits and vegetables in the street markets, where final consumers do the daily shopping. The sales cycle is completed.
Foods on Cai Rang Floating Market
The floating market also attracts food vendors serving Bánh mì sandwiches or noodle soups for breakfast. Gordon Ramsay - a world-renowned chef - used to visit Cai Rang floating market and fell in love with hu tieu - a kind of Vietnamese noodles - to the point he called it the best food he ever tasted in his life. That incident assures the quality of the foods from Cai Rang floating market.